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  • Writer's pictureRowan Karrer

VR's inflection point

I was wondering when this might happen - the collective disillusionment in VR. The recent wave of VR technologies is actually the second to come, with Sega attempting to spearhead the technology back in the 90's, with no success. We were assured this time, that things would be different. The predicate for this argument was that the software, and in particular the hardware, have vastly improved, and have never been more affordable.

It would seem that just because you have a powerful computer doesn't mean you will create something worth experiencing, that the boundaries to quality are not technical alone. I'm not sure if this is a new revelation...

My criticism has always been that VR is premature. Once the novelty wears off, there is no hiding the fact that the technology is primitive, and the experience is un-enjoyable. Add to the mix an oversupply of entrepreneurs and investors keen to monestise the emerging technology, and an under-supply of artists keen to experiment with the new medium, and the results have been pretty disappointing.

Aside from technical barriers like resolution (both spatial and temporal) and degrees of freedom, the experiential element of VR remains fraught. You cannot share a VR experience at home or in the cinema, without feeling like you're with someone that could be on the opposite side of the world, while wearing a plastic box on your head, looking through a fly-screen.

I don't doubt these problems will be reduced with time, however that doesn't diminish the fact that when it comes to VR, to date we've been sold a lemon. I look forward to one day being proven wrong, and my mind is open to the technology as it progresses, but the moment, I remain sceptical.

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